Paradise in the Maldives
Maldives is one of those places you really have to see at least once in your lifetime! It is true paradise, and our visit to The Conrad Maldives at Rangali Island was a dream come true for me.
We visited in March which is the part of the high season in the Maldives (dry season) and spent 4 nights on this gorgeous island. Although I definitely could have stayed a week, 4 nights was enough to unwind and feel fully at home in this island paradise.
To get to the Maldives we flew from Sri Lanka (pretty close by) and then took a tiny sea plane from Male out to Rangali Island, which in itself was an amazing experience, one of the best plane views I have had.
During our stay we spent two nights in the Deluxe Beach Villa and then 2 nights in the Overwater Villa. We loved both of the rooms equally. Each had different features which was really cool. The Beach Villa had a massive outdoor bath and shower, pool and beach entrance to the best snorkelling on the island. We were greeted with a fruit platter, chocolates and bottle of red wine (just chance or someone knew me well!) and in true 5 star service we had our own butler to contact if we needed anything. This room was also located on the same island as the main breakfast restaurant, water sports centre, reception and 24hr gym.
On our our first day we lapped up some Maldivian sun, snorkelling with the fishies, sharks and turtles, and lay by the beach, lathered in coconut oil. For lunch we headed to the Rangali Bar, I had a nice tofu and wakame salad, fruit platter, and of course a big island coconut. we also made use of the gym during the day as we were craving a good sweat after 8 days of curry in Sri Lanka haha!! For sunset we walked across the bridge to the other island and had a sunset Cocktail at ‘The Quiet Zone’, an adults only, open air tented cocktail lounge bar by the beachside on the second island. I had the ‘Lime & Thyme Margarita’ (Lemon + Thyme Tequila + Thyme infused Cointreau + Fresh Pressed Lime + Thyme Salt). Oh my god, whoever invented this concoction, genius! And the sunsets in the Maldives are truely magic!
After sunset, we headed to ‘The Koko Grill’ restaurant for a 10 course Japanese degustation with sake in an intimate setting of about 8 couples by the Indian Ocean. The chef prepared a complete 10 course vegan degustation for me. My courses were as follows: robata grilled shiitake mushrooms and wakame salad, nigiri sushi (avocado, daikon, and tomato- sashimi style) nikujaga broth with tomato and harusami noodles, salad, tempura vegetables, agedashi tofu, lychee-jasmine gelato, miso soup with garlic fried rice, teppanyaki veg and oyster mushroom, and finally for dessert a coconut panna cotta and fruit sushi. All prepared right in front of us with the chef explaining each dish to us. For a vegan version of the menu, I definitely didn’t feel left out!
The second day we got up early to squeeze in a workout before shooting in the nice morning light. Breakfast was at the ‘Atoll Market’ on the main island. This buffet was probably the most incredible I have seen. And us being us, got excited and plated up way too much food for our bellies. They have a juice/smoothie station where you can make up your own combination. They also had copious amounts of tropical fruits, cereals, pastries/breads, sushi, waffles, pancakes, an egg station, and a heap of other hot breakfast options. I had a coconut banana smoothie made up and poured this over my muesli and fruits, deeelicious (kinda like a DIY smoothie bowl!).
The rest of the morning we swam and snorkelled in the coral gardens right out the front of our room. The weather was incredible, not a single cloud, calm breezes and the temperature was just perfect. Lunch was at the ‘Mandhoo Restaurant’ which features a healthy organic menu to accompany treatments at the spa. The restaurant is set on stilts overlooking the reef, where the sharks hang out most of the day. We shared a selection of fresh vegan salads, and I had a miso soup with tofu salad, and Alex had fish and vegetables. It was really delicious and the view was really beautiful, like dining in paradise.
Sunset came and we found hammocks on the beach to sit and watch the sky glow a golden hue before crossing the islands on the island ferry boat to another sunset Lime + Thyme Margarita at the Quiet Zone before our Beach Grill dinner, an event called the ‘Lobsters and Champagne on the Beach’. This dinner was on the white sandy beach in the candlelight. Again, I was spoilt for choice on all of the vegan options. A huge salad and vegetable bar, noodles, sushi, grilled corn and potatoes baked in a fire. Of course there was also all you can eat seafood grill for everyone else, and I think Alex ate himself sick with Lobster, Bug and Fish.
The third morning I had a private morning yoga session in the pavilion by the beach. Definitely the most stunning spot I have ever done yoga. The instructor was really experienced and took me through a series of postures to help me stretch and strengthen, followed by meditation. Couldn’t imagine a better way to start my day. After yoga I headed to ‘The Spa Retreat’ where I had the Maldivian Indigenous Treatment, a 90 minute ritual which included a coconut scrub, Indian inspired head massage and full body massage using a heated coconut stick. The resort actually features two spas, one on each island. ‘The Spa Retreat’ is located on the tip of the main island and the second spa, ‘The Overwater Spa’, is located on the second island, featuring a glass floor over the lagoons coral garden.
By this time we were due to check into our new room, the Over-Water Villa which I had been sooo excited for. Our room was on the second island, over the bridge, or by boat ferry. We had our own little plunge pool on the sun deck which overlooked the stunning blue Maldivian waters, a ladder to get down to the ocean and enough privacy to feel like we had the whole ocean to ourselves. I also fell in love with the clear desk with a glass floor and wall. The perfect spot to get some blogging done. For lunch on this day we got to step into the kitchen at ‘UFAA by Jereme Leung’ and join the chef to help prepare our lunch! This is the islands first celebrity chef restaurant. We learnt how to make dumplings and noodles from scratch! (I got to make veggie ones for me) It was a really funny experience. Folding of the dumplings is definitely something that needs a little practice! And ours definitely looked a bit sad compared to the chefs. Then we got to sit down and eat our dumplings and noodle soup.
That evening we went out on the boat for a sunset cruise to spot the dolphins on the Indian Ocean. We were lucky to see plenty of the them playing and jumping out of the sea and catch another beautiful sunset. Our dinner this evening was at the ‘Sunset Grill’. This restaurant is set on stilts above the water on the main island and is their seafood and wine restaurant. From here you can spot fish, manta rays and sharks swimming over the reef. As with all of the restaurants on the island they were able to easily accommodate for my dietary requirements. I had a really nice salad, soup, fruits and red wine. We travelled back to our Over-Water Villa by the foot bridge as of an evening the lights under the bridge light up the water and if you are lucky you can spot rays.
Our fourth day, after an early morning gym session at the Fitness Center and healthy breakfast at the Atoll Market, we got to spend our morning out to sea, swimming with the local manta rays. We were able to spot a heap of them under the sea. They were quiet far below us but we followed them around for a good half hour. This was the first time we had seen them in real life, I couldn’t believe how large they are! So majestic and graceful under there. Plus they were totally un-concerned with us being there with them. After the mantra ray point we headed to some nice snorkel spots where we saw octopus, sharks, fish and turtles.
For lunch we stopped into the Rangali Bar and had a light bite. I tried the Papaya Salad (made vegan) with extra tofu and Alex had a sashimi platter, and spent the early afternoon relaxing by the infinity pool on the second island, with the company of Bill the local bird. That afternoon we got to do an island mixology class at the Rangali Bar where we learnt how to make a couple of the bars most famous cocktails. The cocktail menu has been specially designed by an award winning cocktail consultant, and they create all of their own infused syrups. We watched as they created for us a Rangali G+T (Beefeater 24 Gin + Rosemary + Crème de Mure Rosemary Syrup + Cinnamon + Tonic Syrup + Fever Free Tonic), The Conrad Rangali Colada (Captain Morgan Spiced Rum + Coconut Foam + Lime + Kafir Lime Leaves + Pineapple), and the Fresh Raspberry + Rose Bellini. I think we both agreed the Colada cocktail was the most delicious.
Our final dinner on the island was the Local Maldivian Night. They had local Maldivian people showcasing their crafts, playing local instruments, and making us hand woven crowns. All of the food was prepared and served by local people in a buffet style. Unfortunately for me, the Maldivian people use fish paste/fish sauce in literally all of their dishes and salads so I wasn’t able to try many of the local dishes. However the hotel went above and beyond to accommodate me by delivering a selection of vegan foods from one of the other restaurants.
On our final morning we got up for a PT session with the gym instructor on the beach, it was hot but lots of fun. I really enjoyed all the fitness activities this resort offered as I love trying to keep fit while travelling. We ordered breakfast into our Over-Water Villa so we could have it on our deck. After spending the morning soaking, swimming and diving off of overwater platforms, we got to experience something I had been soo excited about! A morning champagne and canape under the sea at ‘Ithaa’. This restaurant was the first under water restaurant in the Maldives. Built in New Zealand and shipped to the Maldives. The best thing about this is you are literally sitting under the sea dining with wild fish, sharks, and rays swimming about. Going down for the morning canape is probably the best time for photos as you have the nice light above and the scuba diver has just been down to clean the glass for the day. They also do a lunch and dinner sitting in the restaurant. It was really magical to experience this and it’s definitely a must for a visit to this resort, and a perfect way to end our time at the Conrad Maldives.
We can’t wait to come back for our next visit to this dreamy place in the world, and were super sad to be leaving, even though 4 nights felt like enough time to settle in and feel completely relaxed. Looking over all of the things we got to experience it looked like a lot, however when everything you need is across the two islands there is actually so much time to relax in between. I’m hardly surprised that many of the guests that visit this resort are repeat customers. From here we were heading back home to warm sunny Bali, so I guess it’s not such a bad thing ;)
Scroll down for a photo diary of my time here…
Thanks for reading!